The chapter “Passengers” starts off with the author recalling his youth and his struggle of learning how to drive stick shift since a manual car was the only one available for him to drive. He describes the embarrassing moments of when he’d make a mistake and how he felt like his friends were making fun of him, but even after finally getting the hang of it he still wanted an automatic car because that was the newer technology. Eventually he crashed his stick shift and obtained an automatic car but found himself to not be as happy with it as he thought he would. It was nice at first for him to have less to do while driving but overtime he found himself bored doing so little compared to driving stick shift. He then jumps to talk about how nowadays car manufacturers are trying to build cars that will drive themselves completely. Although it is not fully achieved at this point in time, it is the next step that car manufacturers are looking into when advancing car technology. He explains the difficulty of by explaining the difference between tacit and explicit knowledge. Tacit knowledge are things we know how to do without thinking about it while explicit knowledge is what we can actually write down to teach. He explains how software program that would achieve this advancement only has explicit knowledge, not tacit knowledge like humans can have. This chapter overall is about the boundaries between human and technology, what it means exactly to be human, and when it’s time to say enough is enough with automation.
The question of responsibility for an accident would be a very difficult one. I believe the blame should lay with the driver as it was his/her decision to make this purchase. This feeds into the chapter about at which point is automation enough? I feel like even if fully computer automated cars were created without flaws to a point where it reached the public market, a driver should still be paying attention to what’s going on in the road. They are ultimately the owner of the car because they paid for it. This being said, I don’t believe that car manufacturers and programmers would release the car without stating in the contract that they will not be held responsible for any accidents.
The author’s tone is very knowledgeable throughout the entire chapter but first starts off more informal and personable when describing his first driving experiences as he starts off saying “License in hand, I was ready to roll.” He then describes the embarrassment of how bad he was at stick shift first starting off. After he stops reminiscing, it becomes a more professional and formal tone as he describes the downfalls of trying to advance to automation too much and losing the enjoyment of humans doing things for themselves. This is shown when he brings up research that showed workers felt happier and more fulfilled when working than during their leisure time. I like his tone because starting off with a more humorous and personable tone really made the chapter captivating and relatable as it made me more interested to the read the research side of things. I think he chose the informal and personable tone in order to make readers themselves feel as if they were having this conversation with someone they knew and to think about things they do that could become automated in the future and how they would feel about losing the ability to do such tasks. The professional and knowledgeable tone was to show his creditability as to the information and though process he presented. His tone in this chapter and his “Is Google Making Us Stupid” article both have a captivatingly calm tone that is also knowledgeable but warns us of advancing technology too much to a point where we don’t use our human given instincts and skills.